Andy Clarke, President of the League of American Bicyclists, looks back at Bike Month.
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Posted 6.2.11 in Advocacy | Bookmark or Share
“What tips do you have for new bike commuters?
One word. Panniers. Forget the backpack and stylish messenger bag for anything other than a really short commute. Invest in a decent rack and bag to carry your stuff.”
I could not agree more with this comment!
I’ve been seeing a lot of bike commuters recently riding bikes that are equipped with a rear rack but continue to carry most if not all of their stuff in a backpack. It’s a little strange, but I think the cost of a decent pannier is off putting to some. I love my Arkel commuter, but it was almost $200. I justified it as an investment in commuting, but for a lot of people that’s the expected cost of a new bike or close to it..
A dedicated “commuting pannier” is indeed expensive, but a folding wald wire basket pannier, or inexpensive grocery pannier, will carry your bag without breaking the bank, or being much of a theft target (the grocery pannier you could always take with you, too, I guess)
And there’s always the under-appreciated front basket….
I have at least a dozen panniers in my garage or on my bikes at any one time. They are the bee’s knees for a transportational cyclist. I primarily use Arkel and Ortlieb and yes, they are expensive. But they last a heck of a long time. I have only completely worn out one pannier (an Arkel) and that was simply because I was hit by a moving truck that ripped a gash in the side of the ripstop fabric. I still used that pannier for a couple years though with some gorrilla tape on it.
The biggest problem I have is ensuring that the proper gear (e.g. tools, patch kit, pump) gets put in a pannier before I throw it on the rack and head out. When you are a bike geek and have numerous panniers and bikes, outfitting each with the reasonable accoutrements gets pricey.